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Can Keeping a Diary Help you Lose Weight?

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I hear a lot of people claim that they eat really healthy, but yet, they aren’t able to lose weight.  Call me a skeptic, but I never really trust those statements.  I’m not saying I think these people are lying, I’m just not sure that they are truly aware of how they are really eating.    For one, many people have misconceptions of what ‘eating healthy’ really means, and second, some people tend to focus on specific moments of being very ‘healthy’ and ‘good’ rather than the whole picture.

If you are trying to lose weight, studies have shown that keeping a food diary has been proven to be helpful.  Here are some reasons to consider this method to get to the heart of how ‘healthy’ your diet really is and how you can use it to shed some of those extra pounds:

  1. Awareness: Journaling what you eat every day makes you more aware of what you are eating, as compared to if you aren’t journaling.  As you become more aware of what you eat, you will start to see where extra calories might be adding up.
  2. Accuracy: Journaling helps you to accurately document what you are eating, losing the subjectivity that can sometimes creep into a diet.  Even if you have 1/8th of a brownie, you will still be capturing it.  It can’t escape your memory or be fluffed off as not really being ‘a brownie’ due to its size.
  3. Accountability: When you journal, you will be much more prone to think twice about the ‘not so healthy’ foods you might think about consuming otherwise.  It makes you accountable for the food choices you make, prompting you to potentially choose healthier options.
  4. Discovering your Personal Needs: Although there are a lot of general rules that can apply to almost everyone’s diet (E.g., ensuring you get enough fiber in your diet), there are a lot of needs that vary from person to person, as well (E.g. food allergies or intolerances).  Journaling what you eat can help you understand how your body reacts to certain foods, giving you data points of what might upset your stomach, make you tired, make you feel bloated, etc.  This information can be helpful in creating your ‘individualized diet rules’ that pertain to your body and its needs.

Every time I have journaled in the past, I find that I make better decisions and feel better.  Here are a couple of food journaling sites that you might find helpful:

Have you had success in food journaling?

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Nutrition Tagged with: , , , ,